Aston Martin's new V8 Vantage is powered by a normally aspirated V-8 that makes a none-too-shabby 380 horsepower. The V8 Vantage also wears a sleek, windswept exterior that bears resemblance to Aston Martin's larger DB9 and Vanquish sports cars.
As the least costly model in Aston Martin's lineup, the two-seat V8 Vantage competes with other sports cars in the $100,000 range. These include the Porsche 911 as well as Maserati's Coupe and GranSport. The V8 Vantage is currently available only with a six-speed manual, so automatic-transmission sports cars in this price range, such as the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and Jaguar XK, are less likely to be cross-shopped.
The V8 Vantage is built at Aston Martin's headquarters in Gaydon, England.
Twin-bezel headlamps flank Aston Martin's trademark trapezoidal grille. Flared front fenders are trailed by inset side vents, and all lines flow rearward to the V8 Vantage's twin-bar taillamps. The integrated decklid spoiler and twin exhaust pipes finish off the rear.
Measuring 172.5 inches long, the V8 Vantage is more than 10 inches shorter than Aston Martin's DB9 and flagship Vanquish, but it's about as wide as both at 73.5 inches. The V8 Vantage's frame replaces welding with advanced adhesives for better vibration damping, and aluminum and magnesium components reduce weight throughout the chassis. At 3,461 pounds, the V8 Vantage is 9 percent lighter than the DB9, but it's still 330 pounds heavier than Porsche's 911 Carrera S coupe.
Eighteen-inch alloy wheels wear P235/45ZR18 tires in front and P275/40ZR18 tires in back. Nineteen-inch wheels are optional.
A dizzying array of interior choices — including up to 20 colors for seats, carpets and more — means each V8 Vantage can be personalized by its buyer. Premium materials line the aluminum-trimmed dashboard, which includes a ringed engine start button above the radio controls. An analog clock, stitched dashboard seams and machined instrument dials are among the upscale touches. Whereas traditional tachometers swing clockwise, the V8 Vantage's swings counterclockwise as engine speed builds, which might take some getting used to for some drivers.
A small luggage shelf sits behind the standard 10-way power seats. Options include cruise control and a navigation system.
Under the Hood
The V8 Vantage's 4.3-liter V-8 engine generates 380 hp and 302 pounds-feet of torque. Its aluminum construction uses a dry-sump lubrication system that eliminates the oil pan and allows the engine to sit lower to the ground, thereby lowering the vehicle's center of gravity. A rear-mounted transmission helps the V8 Vantage achieve a 49:51 front-to-rear weight distribution.
With its standard six-speed-manual transmission, Aston Martin says the V8 Vantage can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. Top speed is 175 mph.
Antilock brakes, traction control, an electronic stability system and side-impact airbags are standard. Front Brembo disc brakes measure 14 inches in diameter, while non-Brembo rear discs are 13 inches. Both pairs of discs are gripped by four-piston calipers.